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1345 [1344]

K. Edw. 6. Troubles of the Duke of Somerset. Articles agaynst hym.

MarginaliaAnno. 1552. Duke of Somerset was apprehended & MarginaliaThe Duke of Somerset agayne brought to the Tower. committed againe to the Tower, and with him also sir Michael Stanhop, sir Raufe Vane, sir Miles Partrige, & other. &c. At length the tyme being come of his arrainment, the foresaide good Duke being conueyed from the Tower, was brought thorow London with the Axe of the tower before him, & with great preparaunce of byl, halbardes, pikes, and polaxes, in most forcible wise: a watch also set & appoynted before euery mans doore through the hie streate of London, & so was he brought into Westminster hall, where the Lordes of the Counsaile sitting as his Iudges in the midle of the hall, vpon a newe Scaffold, he was there before them arrained and charged both with treason and felonie. 

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It appears as though Foxe was drawing this information from an eyewitness.

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MarginaliaThe vile tauntes of certayne Iustices and others sitting in iudgemēt agaynst the good Duke of Somerset In the which Iudgement, I passe ouer the vnseemely speach, the vile taunts, and despitefull rebukes, without all modestie or honestie, vsed by certaine of the Sergeants and Iustices, and some other sitting there. MarginaliaThe great patience of the Duke of Somerset in taking rebukes. Al which notwithstanding he patiently & quietly dyd suffer, neither stormyng inwardly in stomacke, nor reuiling them with woordes againe: but like a Lambe folowing the true Lambe, & example of al meekenes, 

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Foxe is describing Somerset's trial in a manner that compares it to the Passion of Christ.

was contented to take al things at their handes, and with no lesse patience to beare nowe their vngentle and cruell raylinges, then he dyd before their glauering wordes and flatterings in tyme of his high estate and prosperitie. MarginaliaThe discrete behauiour of the Duke in aunswering for hym selfe And as the patience of this good Duke was marueilous in forbearing his enemies, so also was his discretion and temperance no lesse seene in answering for hym self to the articles to him obiected: wherunto he wisely and substantially replyed, putting hym selfe in the end to be tried by his Peeres. Who then at length after consultation had, did frame and temper their verdict thus, that as concerning the case of treason, wherwith he was charged they discharged hym, but they accounted hym giltie of felonie. 
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Somerset was acquitted of treason but found guilty of felony under a statute forbidding the assembly of men for purposes of riot. (Allegedly, Somerset had been gathering his retainers together to assassinate Northumberland). Ironically, the law was a response to the 1549 rebellions.

MarginaliaThe harty affection of the people toward the Duke of Somerset. When the people (which were there present to a great number) heard the Lordes say, Not gyltie (meanyng by the case of treason) supposing no lesse, but that he had ben clearly acquited by these words, and especially seeing the Axe of the Tower to be carryed away, for great ioy and gladnes made an outcrye, well declaring their louyng affection and harty fauour vnto the Duke, whose life they greatly desired. MarginaliaThe Duke of Somerset condemned of felonye. But this opinion of the people was deceiued, and the innocent Duke condemned to dye for fellonie. Which act of felonie Marginalia[illegible text]6. had bene made a litle before against the rebelles, and vnlawfull assembles, such as shoulde seeke or procure the death of any Counsaylour, so that euery suche attempt and procurement, according to the Act, should be iudged felony. 
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3 & 4 Edward VI c.5

By the vertue of whiche Acte, MarginaliaThe Duke of Somerset accused for seeking the death of the Duke of Northumberland. the Duke being accused, with certaine other his complices, to intende and purpose the death of the Duke of Northumberlande, and of certain beside, was therefore caste and condemned of felonie, and so was returned toward the Tower againe.

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At whose passage through the Citie, great exclamations and outcryes were made againe of the people, some reioysing that he was acquited, some bewailyng that he was condemned.

This the good Duke passing through a great part of the Citie, landing at the Crane of the Vintrie, 

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This was a quay in London. Somerset was conveyed through London by boat.

was conueyed vnto the Tower, where he endured tyll the xxij. of Ianuary. Vpon the whiche day at the comming downe of the letter of execution from the kyng and the Counsayle, the foresaide Duke and Vncle to the kyng, being founde no traytour, onely being caste by the Acte of Felonie, was deliuered vnto the Sheriffes, and so brought to the place of execution.

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Touching which execution a fewe wordes here would be bestowed in describing the wonderfull order and maner thereof, according as it hath faythfully bene suggested to vs vpon the credite of a certayne noble Personage, who not onely was there present at the deede doing, but also in a maner next vnto hym vpon the Scaffolde, beholding the order of all thinges with his eyes, and with his Penne also reportyng the same in order & maner as here foloweth. 

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This account was in Foxe's hands during his exile. The most likely candidate for an aristocrat likely to have been present at Somerset's death and to have sent an account of it to Foxe or his friends is Francis Russell, the second earl of Bedford.

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Marginalia1552. In the yeare of our Lord. 1552. the 22. day of Ianuary, in the sixt yeare of the raigne of king Edward the sixt, he being yet vnder age and gouernance of Tutours: the noble Duke of Somerset, vncle to king Edwarde,was brought out of the Tower of London, and according to the maner, deliuered to the Sheriffes of the Citie: and compassed round about with a great nūber of armed men both of the Gard and others, he was brought vnto the Scaffold on Tower hyll: where as he nothing chaunging neyther voyce nor countenaunce, but in a maner with the same gesture which he commonly vsed at home, kneelyng downe vpon both his knees and liftyng vp his handes, commended hym selfe vnto God.

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After that he had ended a few short prayers, standing vp againe and turnyng hym selfe towarde the East side of the Scaffold, nothing at all abashed (as it seemed vnto me MarginaliaThe cherefull countenance of the Duke of Somerset at his death.standyng about the middest of the Scaffold, and diligently marking al thinges) neyther with þe sight of the Axe, neither yet of the Hangman, or of present death: but with the like alacritie and chearefulnesse of mynde and countenaunce as before tymes he was accustomed to heare the causes & supplications of other, and especially the poore (towards whom, as it were with a certaine fatherly loue to his children, he alwayes shewed hym selfe most attentiue) he vttered these wordes to the people.

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MarginaliaThe wordes of the Duke of Somerset to the people at hys death. Derely beloued frendes, I am brought hyther to suffer death, albeit that I neuer offēded against the king, neither by word nor deede, & haue bene alwayes as faithfull & true vnto this Realme, as any man hath bene. But for so much as I am by a lawe condemned to dye, I do acknowledge my selfe as well as others to be subiect thereunto. Wherefore to testifie my obedience which I owe vnto the lawes, I am come hyther to suffer death: wherunto I willingly offer my selfe, with most harty thankes vnto God, that hath giuen me this tyme of repētance, who might thorow sodaine death haue taken away my lyfe that neyther I should haue acknowledged hym nor my selfe.

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Moreouer (dearely beloued frendes) there is yet somewhat that I must put you in mynd of as touching Christian Religion: whiche so long as I was in authoritie, I alwayes diligently set foorth and furthered to my power. Neither do I repent me of my doynges, but reioyce therin, MarginaliaThe care of the Duke of Somerset in setting forth true religion. sith that now the state of Christian religion commeth most neare vnto the forme and order of the Primitiue Churche. Whiche thing I esteeme as a great benefite geuen of God, both vnto you and me: most hartily exhorting you all, that this which is most purely set forth vnto you, you wyl with like thankfulnes accept and embrace, and set out the same in your liuyng. Which thing if ye do not, without doubt, greater mischiefe and calamitie wyl folow.

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MarginaliaA sodein noyse and feare of the people at the death of the Duke of Somerset. When he had spoken these wordes, sodainely there was a terrible noyse heard: wherupō there came a great feare on all men. This noyse was as it had bene the noyse of some great storme or tempest, which vnto some semed to be heard from aboue: like as if a great deale of gunpouder beyng inclosed in an armorye, and hauyng caught fire, had violently broken out. But vnto some againe, it seemed as though it had bene a great multitude of horsemen runnyng together, or commyng vppon them. 

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John Stow, who was present at Somerset's execution, blamed the noise on the huge size of the crowd (John Stow, The Annales, ed. E. Howes (London, 1615), p. 607). Another contemporary account - independent of Foxe - also compared the noise to gunpowder set on fire (BL, Cotton Charters, IV.17). Henry Machyn, also present, thought that the noise sounded like gunfire or horseman riding in the distance. Machyn also observed that the soldiers on guard panicked at the commotion (Diary of Henry Machyn, ed. J. G. Nichols. Camden Society, original series 42 (1848), p. 14).

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Suche a noyse was then in the eares of all men, albeit they saw nothyng. Wherby it happened, that all the people being amased without any euident cause, without any violence or stroke striken, or any man seene, they ran away, some into the ditches and puddles, and some into the houses thereabout: other some being afrayde with the horrour and noyse, fel downe grouelyng vnto the ground with their polaxes & halbards, and most part of thē cryed out: Iesus saue vs, Iesus saue vs. Those whiche tarryed styll in their places, for feare knewe not where they were. And I my selfe which was there presēt amōg þe rest, being also afrayd in this hurley burley, stood styl altogether amased, lookyng when any man woulde knocke me in the head. MarginaliaThe lyke story you shall read of Caius Marius, in Valerius Maximus the 2. booke and 5. chapter. It happened here, as the Euangelistes write, it dyd vnto Christ, when as the officers of the high Priestes and Pharisees commyng with weapons to take hym, beyng astonyed, ran backwardes, and fel to the ground: 
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This passage appeared in the Rerum and 1563. In the 1570 edition, Foxe introduced this caveat: 'this is not to be expounded as though I compared in any part the Duke of Somerset with Christ' (the last page of the prelims in the 1570 edition, 1576, p. 2008 and 1583, p. 2149).

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In the meane tyme, whilest these thyngs were thus in doyng, the people by chance spyed one sir Anthony Broune ridyng vnto the Scaffold: which was the occasion of a new noyse. For when they saw him commyng, they coniectured that which was not true, but notwithstanding which they al wished for, that the king by that messenger had sent his vncle pardon: and therfore with great reioysing and casting vp their cappes, they cryed out, Pardon, pardon is come: God saue the kyng. MarginaliaThe great fauour of the people to the Duke of Somerset. Thus this goode Duke, although he was destitute of all mans helpe, yet he sawe before his departure, in how great loue and fauour he was with al men. And truely I doo not thinke, that in so great slaughter of Dukes as hath ben in England within these fewe yeares, there was so many weeping eyes at one tyme: & not without cause. For al men dyd see in the decay of this Duke the publike ruine of al England, except such as in dede did perceiue nothyng. But now to returne from whence we haue strayed, the Duke in the meane tyme standyng styll in the same place modestly & with graue coūtenāce made a signe to the people with his hand, that they would keepe thēselues quiet, which thing being done, and silence obteyned, he spake vnto them in this maner.

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MarginaliaThe wordes of the Duke agayne to the people. Dearely beloued frendes, there is no such matter here in hande, as you vainely hope or beleue. It seemeth thus good vnto almighty God, whose ordinance it is meete and necessary that we al be obediēt vnto. Wherfore I pray you al be quiet, and to be contented with my death which I am most willing to suffer: and let vs nowe ioyne in prayer vnto the Lord, for the preseruation of the kinges maiestie:

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vnto
FFFf.ij.
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